Competitive intelligence is a term that describes collecting information about rival businesses.
By gathering this kind of data, it’s easier to make more informed business decisions, enhance the organization of your company, and anticipate and respond to any future challenges that could threaten the credibility and financial security of your brand.
Ultimately, competitive intelligence means different things to different business owners, however, the crux of doing this research is to ensure you and your team are never caught off guard by your competitors or by sudden changes, trends, and advancements in your niche.
Two Types of Competitive Intelligence
There are two core types of competitive intelligence: Tactical and strategic.
Tactical intelligence is ordinarily used in the short-term and aims to find data to help you capture a vaster share of the market and increase your overall revenue whereas strategic intelligence is a longer-term technique used to recognize significant risks to your company. Conversely, it also helps to identify opportunities for growth and expansion.
Competitive intelligence is not industrial espionage. Espionage-style surveillance relies on methods that are both illegal and unethical and result in the enjoyment of an unfair advantage. Competitive intelligence does, however, go beyond assessing easily accessible information; it’s not enough just to conduct a simple internet search. Instead, you need to source information from the following sources:
- The news media
- Customer interviews
- Competitor interviews
- Interviews from industry experts
- Attending trade shows and conferences where the competitor is present
- Scouring publicly available government records
- Researching the company’s stakeholders and suppliers
Just to name a few.
So, as you can see, once you’ve finished administering the research for your competitive intelligence, you should have everything you need to thoroughly compare yourself against your competitors which can lead you to make more informed business decisions.